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Smoke a health hazard for children.

A panel of scientific advisors to the Environmental Protection Agency has approved a report saying involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke is a significant health hazard to children and that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a known human carcinogen.

The approval of the report by the executive committee of EPA's Science Advisory Board has no immediate practical effect, because it must be reviewed by EPA Administrator William K. Reilly and because EPA has no authority to regulate indoor air pollution. But if approved by Reilly, the report, several years in the making, could have a dramatic effect on how other state, local and federal government agencies regulate smoking in the workplace.

The report also could affect the way courts settle child custody battles and lead to court orders prohibiting smoking in homes with children, said John Banzhaf, director of the antismoking organization, Action on Smoking and Health.

The report concludes that environmental tobacco smoke causes 2,500 to 3,500 lung cancer deaths per year among nonsmokers and former smokers. In addition, it says that ETS causes as many as 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections among children every year.

The tobacco industry has disputed the scientific basis of the report as it wended its way through the review process. "This report doesn't make a whole lot of scientific sense" since it assumes similarities between the effects of smoking and breathing someone else's smoke, said Brennan Dawson, a spokesman for the Tobacco Institute. -- From the Ann Arbor News
COPYRIGHT 1992 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Health Issues; environmental tobacco smoke
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Dec 22, 1992
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